Stories of Success
In 2014-15 a powerful journey took place under the guidance of Express Yourself Milwaukee. While serving time in a detention facility one young man, Tyrone, began to positively engage in our programming. After active participation he was moved to Milwaukee County Accountability Program (MCAP), and in fall of 2015, as part of his re-entry process he was an active participant in our studio programming as a community service requirement. His presence was quiet and positive, each week he shared more of his personality. Tyrone began to step up as a leader during his community service time with ExYoMKE, learning to express himself in positive ways and becoming a role model for his peers. In spring of 2016 he applied and was hired as an intern as part of our Youth Arts Internship Program.
For the 2016 Express Yourself Milwaukee Summer Youth Internship Program, Tyrone was hired back as a Multi-Arts Youth Support Assistant, where he mentored youth in our Wednesday Studio Group and became a leader for a drumming piece he created with program youth. He challenged himself and stepped up into important roles when he saw the need.
The Summer Washington Park Performance was video taped and shown to the youth in ExYoMKE corrections program, where Tyrone began his journey with ExYoMKE. The youth in corrections recognized him and praised him for doing well, while acknowledging the hope for a positive future. After seeing the success of Tyrone on the outside, more youth in correction wanted to participate in our programming.
Before encountering Express Yourself, Meech, a young musician with a talent for creating and writing music, played at various churches in the community in an effort to feed his passion. While attending high school at New School for Community Service, he first participated in Express Yourself programming through MPS Partnership. After positively engaging in our programming, he performed with his peers on stage for our 2015 STEP UP! Performance at the Alverno Pitman Theater. While performing on stage, Meech, recognized the power of expressive art which deepened his connection with Express Yourself.
In the summer of 2016, after a year of active participation in our programming, he was hired as an Arts Intern through our Youth Arts Internship program. He mentored younger participants, assisted staff, and led Good EATS (Expressions At The Studio) as well as fine-tuning his own musical expression. During his time as an intern, Meech brought a sense of positivity and professionalism to each group he worked with. He uncovered a unique way to relate to youth participants, increasing youth engagement and artistic product in program sessions. He worked collaboratively with staff and youth, stepping up as a role model and becoming a positive youth leader.
In the fall of 2016, Express Yourself leadership recognized Meech as a pivotal leader in our youth led initiative where he was hired on as Art Support staff on our Artistic team. To this day he continues to spread positivity and a passion for music in our year-round youth programming.